Friday, October 21, 2011

Curing wrist pain in Chataranga

People complain about wrist pain in Chataranga Dandsana (push-up posture). The usual remedy you hear from teachers is to drop your knees to the ground. But as this article points out, dropping the knees does nothing to help with wrist pain.

The problem is with the usual instruction to stack the elbows directly over the wrists and to emphasize driving the chest forward. That essentially puts all of the upper body weight bearing down on the wrists. And dropping the knees makes the pose somewhat easier by not requiring activation of the legs, but doesn't change the amount of weight on the wrists. Indeed, it might make it worse by removing the legs from helping lift the weight.

However, David Keil says:

The further forward the shoulders are from the hands, the more strain ends up in the shoulders. This happens because bulk of the upper body weight is too far out in front to be supported by the hands under it. Imagine holding a twenty pound weight directly over your shoulder, shouldn’t be a problem, but now move it forward just a few inches and gravity starts to work on your shoulder in a very different way.

As far as general alignment rules for stacking joints is concerned, don’t apply it to the wrist and the elbow for chaturanga. OK, there may be a few people who are an exception to this last statement, but most people putting their elbows over their wrists in chaturanga will be putting way too much strain on the shoulder. Not to mention it also increases the wrist angle and can cause problems there too. Most people should have their elbow slightly behind their wrist, which brings the center of their chest and their weight closer to the line between their two hands.

So keep the elbow slightly behind the wrist, and the shoulders not quite so far forward ....

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